Indian para-shuttlers survive scare, twin blasts near team hotel in Kampala

At least three persons have lost their lives in terrorist strike in Kampala on Tuesday
At least three persons have lost their lives in terrorist strike in Kampala on Tuesday.

Indian para-shuttlers survived a major scare on Tuesday after a twin-blast near the team hotel in the Ugandan Capital Kampala. At least two explosives were hurled inside a police station; just 100 metres from the hotel were the Indian contingent was staying.

All the team members were safe and later took part in the Uganda Para badminton International 2021, taking place in Kampala from November 15 to 21.

Indian para badminton chief coach Gaurav Khanna told this reporter from Uganda that “panic spread in the camp after two loud blasts were heard near the hotel. However, no one from the team was hurt .

“A group of the players was heading for the badminton, around five kilometres from the blast site. There was chaos and fear in the camp for some time as we were clueless about what has happened outside,” said Khanna.

“The players rushed back to their rooms. The Indian High Commission in Kampala was informed about the incident. Following an assurance from the embassy the players left for the stadium and participated in the event.”

“It won’t have any effect on our schedule and the tournament also goes on. We have a big contingent, including 54 players who are competing in the tournament,” Khanna told national news agency PTI.

Three suicide bombers have reportedly died in the blasts, local police have stated.

Tokyo Paralympic gold medallist Pramod Bhagat, who is part of the Indian contingent, participating in tournament also said they are safe and there was nothing to worry.

The two bomb blasts led to the death of at least three civilians and caused chaos in Kampala as terrified residents fled the city’s centre.

“We are safe. There was a blast. Nothing to worry. It has not affected our schedule. We didn’t feel it much. There was little chaos but everyone is safe and the tournament will go on as per the schedule,” Bhagat, who will open his campaign on Wednesday, told PTI.

The Uganda Para Badminton International 2021 is the second last major event of the year on the Para Badminton Calendar, which will come to an end with the Asian Youth Para Games in Manama, Bahrain, next month.

“We are 15 Indians players in our hotel, there are 15-20 players in another hotel too but all are safe.” The Para Badminton India took to social media to inform about the players’ safety. “Indian Team is Safe!There is multiple Bomb Blast 100 mtr away from official Hotel in which @parabadmintonIN team staying… (sic),” it tweeted.

The event will end on November 21.